The twin-engine Beech Baron propeller plane took off from an Arkansas airport and crashed on a wooded hill about 100 yards from a cluster of homes in a rural area on the city's northwestern edge.
Mark Clayton, who lives about 200 yards from the crash site, said he saw the plane falling and heard the crash. He said it was spinning counterclockwise before it hit the ground: "It sounded like a big bang."
All three of the plane's occupants were thrown from the plane, which was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Clayton said he and others ran to the site but knew there was little they could do to help.
Officials would not immediately confirm the identities of the victims and declined to say specifically where in Arkansas the plane came from, until they could notify relatives. The plane was headed to Nashville International Airport, about .
Les Dorr, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration, said the registered owners of the plane are Gregory and Debra Secrest, from Hot Springs, Ark. Dorr could not confirm whether they were aboard the plane.
A phone message left Monday at a number listed for the Secrests was not immediately returned.
There was rain and fog in the area at the time crash, but Dorr said investigators can't yet say what caused the crash.
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